What Happened to Marlon Jackson? – News and Updates

Marlon Jackson on the Red Carpet

When people think of The Jackson 5, the first name that probably comes to mind is Michael Jackson. His voice was well-known for making hits like “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There” hugely successful, and he went on to become one of the biggest names in the music industry. However, Michael certainly wasn’t the only talented Jackson. His older brother Marlon was an important member of The Jackson 5, but never went on to be as famous as his brother. What happened to Marlon after The Jackson 5 fell apart, and what has he been doing since?

Early Life

Smiling portrait of a young Marlon Jackson on a yellow background

Marlon Jackson was born March 12th, 1957 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana. He was the sixth son of the Jackson family (one year older than Michael), though his twin brother Brandon was stillborn. While he was growing up, Marlon’s brothers Tito, Jermaine and Jackie performed as a trio known as the Jackson Brothers, which their father managed.

By 1965, Michael and Marlon had joined their brothers, and the group renamed itself The Jackson 5. After several years performing and competing around the country, they were eventually signed by Motown Records in 1969. The Jackson 5 was an instant success, and in 1970, they became the first group to have their first four singles hit the top of the Hot 100 chart.

Marlon was known as “the Dancingest Jackson” at the height of the group’s fame, a name that he came up with himself to describe his flamboyant dance moves. He was also a well-known jokester while the brothers were backstage, and always had a sense of humor. While Marlon was not the most prominent Jackson brother, he sang lead vocals on a number of their hits and was an invaluable part of the group.


The Jackson 5’s success was unfortunately rather short-lived. After a legal dispute with Motown Records in 1976, the Jackson family moved to Epic Records, where they renamed themselves “The Jacksons.” Randy Jackson replaced Jermaine after he elected to remain with Motown Several of the brothers launched solo careers, and the family band eventually fell apart.

Solo CareerThe cover of Marlon Jackson's solo album "Baby Tonight"

After the Jacksons stopped playing together, Marlon went on to become a musician in his own right. In 1987, he released his solo album, “Baby Tonight.” The album featured the song “Don’t Go,” which was a huge success, and hit number 2 on the R&B charts.

 

Later Years

Unlike many of his brothers, Marlon chose to leave the music business. For several years, he was a successful real estate agent in Southern California. However, entertainment was certainly Marlon’s calling, and in 1999, he started running the Major Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

Portrait of Marlon Jackson on a black background

MBC was a primarily religious network based in Atlanta, and in 2004, it changed its name to the Black Family Channel. However, in May 2007, the Black Family Channel was stopped airing content, and its subscriber base was sold to the Gospel Music Channel.

Though Marlon left the music industry, he continued to perform with his brothers occasionally. They toured together in 1984, 1997 and 2001. Sadly, the brothers also gathered together to mourn the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. At Michael’s memorial, Marlon said a tearful goodbye to his brother and asked Michael to give his twin brother, Brandon, a hug for him.

What’s He Doing Now in 2018

In 2016, Marlon continues to live a full life. He is still married to his wife Carol, and they have three children together, Valencia, Marlon and Brittany. At 59 years of age, he lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.

 


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Phoebe Harnish
When she's not writing, you can usually find Phoebe making music, reading, or enjoying the great outdoors. Phoebe studies literature and linguistics at a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, I remember! They made it big when I was 5. I really got into them with the cartoon, and I remember a discussion I had with my friend Bruce in First Grade. I said I wanted to join the Jackson 5, and he said to me, “You can’t! You’re not Black! They’d never let you in!” But, I explained, I liked to sing, and wanted to sing with them! I’m sure Marlon and Michael would’ve been friends with me, even though I was like 4 years younger.

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